To a War-torn Country – Deportation #15 to Afghanistan

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On Tuesday August 14th, the German ‘Federal Ministry of the Interior’ organized yet another mass deportation to Afghanistan from Munich airport. 46 young men were deported to the country that has just recently made it to international news again as Taliban fighters attacked the city of Ghasni leaving dozens of civilians dead. In Munich downtown 600 demonstrators rally to protest the deportation. The Bavarian part of the conservative party ‘CSU’ keeps campaigning against refugees – also announcing recently, that Bavarian-organized mass deportations could take place some time soon.

Distanced, In The Dark – Not Supposed To Be Documented

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View through windows of deportation charter-plane showing a man resting his head on the front seat. ©Michael Trammer

During the past year deportations to Afghanistan have taken place on an almost monthly base leaving from different airports in Germany. Fifteen times charter airplanes loaded with police officers and young men – rejected asylum by the German state – have left for the middle-east country. The conduct of those seems to follow the same scheme. Starting at early morning hours and during the whole day refugees are approached across the country by police, arrested and transported to Munich airport. Some just arriving at the airport 3o minutes before the plane is boarded. Some manage to stop their deportation judicially. On a prior deportation flight one migrant’s fate whose asylum case is still running made it to international news – as he was deported while his judicial trial was still running. He will return to Germany in the upcoming days so the trial can be continued.
On-site police officers have told our team in the past a ‚normal Check-In procedure’ is conducted. This takes place at Terminal F – a high security terminal located a little off from standard gates. The end of the journey of refugees from Afghanistan – namely their transport back – happens off the view of tourists leaving for holidays. To at least be documenting the special security measures around the terminal our team tried to approach Terminal F. On site police officers told us – before even taking a single image – to stop and checked our identities. We were then sent off. One higher ranking officer told us:

‚The operational line does not want you to take photos here‘ …. ‚It would be best if you just left for home.‘

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Police officers conducting the deportation transport people one by one into the airplane. ©Michael Trammer

We were unable to photograph the process in the Terminal. Shielded off from the public the fate of declined asylum seekers is sealed. Just to mention this: Of course we did not leave intimidated and continued our constitutionally backed work.
Later on, busses transport refugees -each accompanied by two police men -to the gate of departure. The past few times the British charter company ‚Titan Airways‘ has been servicing the flights. Rather an obscure image: Stewardesses and stewards reach the plane, after refugees and police boarded, wearing high-heels and chic clothing – making it look like an ordinary airline flight.

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Crew boards deportation flight. ©Michael Trammer

Police left lights in the gangways switched off and parked busses in the view line from around the airfield. We are guessing this is to make documentation from the outside harder as it is only possible to stand on public grounds as a journalist covering this.

Number of Civilians’ Deaths in Afghanistan on Record High

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Germany deports to Afghanistan from Munich airport – activists rally at Munich airport – early 2017. ©Michael Trammer

The German Federal Foreign Office is warning its citizens to travel to Afghanistan. German consulate in Kabul stays closed for the public, after an terror attack more than a year ago. Recent heavy fights between Taliban and security forces have made it to international news. Nevertheless, the German government sticks to its evaluation: For people originating from the poor middle-east country this is a safe place to live. Former restrictions to only deport young men that have committed crimes in Germany have been abolished. No limitations are enacted, the ministry of the Interior states.
Still, the country is rocked by terror and suicide attacks on a nearly daily basis. An United Nations security report supplies numbers: In the first six months of this year at least 1692 civilians were killed and at least 3430 civilians were wounded. After Taliban fighters attacked security forces in the Afghan town of Ghasni, the situation has even worsened. The town located just 150 km from the destination of the flight from Munich airport was overrun by fighters of the radical Islamic group. According to reports, the situation has been cleared and secured. Taliban are now threatening the German Red Cross that was supplying a local hospital. All of this can be seen as a significant low in a waging conflict in the war-torn Afghanistan.

Deportation: Made in Bavaria?

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Opening of ‘Bavarian Federal Office for Asylum and Return’ in Manching. ©Michael Trammer

Almost two weeks ago, following a federal government crisis over a ‚masterplan‘ on migration by Federal Interior Minister Horst Seehofer (CSU), the ‚Bavarian Federal Office for Asylum and Return‘ has been opened. The newspaper ‚Bayernkurier‘ by the conservative party CSU, started reports stating ‚Humanity and Order in Refugee-politics‘. This though is rather cynical as especially those officials of the CSU are demanding a higher frequency of deportations, lower hurdles to reject asylum seekers and a gathering of all those in a central yet shielded place. The de-facto ghettoization of people applying for asylum might be followed by the next solely Bavarian turn on migration politics. In an interview given to our team after opening the first so called ‘ANKER-Zentrum’ in Manching near Ingolstadt, Joachim Herrmann – Minister of the Interior and Integration (CSU= – stated, to not have arranged dates yet, but to have planned to organize own, Bavarian, deportations:

++++++ UPDATE ++++++

The Sole Destiny Is Ignored

Published one day after the deportation a note by the Bavarian Refugee Council reveals the shocking background stories of the deported. German officials deported a person suffering of a heavy depression and a post traumatic stress decease. This should already be enough to prevent a deportation at all, furthermore the deported was in surgery few days ago. Doctors recommended a return for check and further care in ten days. The patient is now left alone with wounds in the stomach area. The stitches are still to be removed. Just one example of 46.

Read the full statement of Bavarian Refugee Council:

In English:

‘It is absolutely cynical as the Minister of the Interior Joacim Herrmann states that the single case should not fall out of sight. Nevertheless a person that had surgery recently, suffers of PTSD and heavy depression is deported. Adding up the cases of two young men with suicidal tendencies shows clearly that neithe the federal nor the Bavarian Government are at all interested in human lives and single fates. ‘

Agnes Andrae, Bavarian Refugee Council

‚Afghanistan is not safe‘

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Film students protest migration politics at event with Markus Söder, CSU in Munich film school in July. ©Michael Trammer

Citizens across Germany have been protesting the current deadly asylum politics. The initiative ‘Seebrücke’ has been attempting to draw attention to migrants dying at sea in the past months. Tens-of thousands rallied against the far-right rhetoric in the debate about migration and the conservative party CSU in Munich weeks ago. During the deportation last night, 600 took it to the streets to show their mischief:

A change in politics has to be reached soon. People are sent to almost certain death. Politics are shifting to the far-right pleasing demands of deportations on an inhumane scale. Afghanistans security status – especially following recent attacks – has to be reevaluated.